Objective: To determine whether apoptosis occurs in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synoviocytes, and if this phenomenon is dependent on the Fas/Apo-1 pathway.
Methods: Apoptotic change in vivo was examined in RA synovial cells by several standard methods. The ability of cells to undergo Fas-induced apoptosis was determined in vitro.
Results: Typical apoptotic change was demonstrated in RA synovial cells by each method. Anti-Fas antibody induced apoptotic synovial cell death in vitro.
Conclusion: This is the first reported study to demonstrate apoptosis in RA synovial cells. The findings indicate that rheumatoid synoviocytes undergo Fas-mediated apoptosis.